Guilt is heavy when you are a mom.
And I am feeling it intensely these days.
Here is a quick list of what I have felt guilt about in the last few days in no particular order
- Not spending enough time with Ben
- Working too much
- Not having a clean enough house
- Not putting together that stupid Ikea table I bought for him like two months ago
- Not having lost all of the baby weight
- Not dedicating myself to work enough
- Not being a good enough friend
- Not being a good wife
- Not taking the laundry upstairs yet
- Not giving our dogs enough attention
- Not organizing our closets
- Not working out enough
- Not eating well
- Getting a migraine
As I said, the guilt is heavy.
I have found that in the last year or so, all the things I thought I could balance, I cannot.
For example, I feel this immense mixture of guilt and contentment when I see my friends going out and I choose not to in order to spend time with my family. I travel for work, and every time I leave I count the days until I can get home to my son. I did the math and figured I miss about 2 months of Ben’s life every year due to travel. Not a ton, but enough that it makes the time I do have with him incredibly precious. It makes it so when I am home, I want to imprint on him that I am his person. But that means that I miss my friends sometimes. I feel guilty for not being as good a friend as I used to be.
Or when the day ends and Ben is asleep, I take a look at the very real dust collecting on the floors under the bookshelf in our living room and think I should dust and clean. And then I think of the time I haven’t spent with my husband. That sitting in our family room and talking to him is far more valuable in the long run.
Each day is this struggle of what will I have time to accomplish today? Will I have the fortitude to organize our bills (no) or the motivation to finish folding the whites (always no, poor lonely athletic socks sitting in our dryer for days on end).
I know I am not alone in this. And I also understand that older, wiser people will say revel in the time that you have with your children when they are little and the sweet quiet moments you have with your husband. But that is something said with hindsight running behind them. I currently have guilt, mom guilt, wife guilt, dog parent guilt, employee guilt, daughter guilt, dusty house guilt, taking up all of the empty space in my brain. Coming from a long line of Irish Catholics I don’t see this subsiding anytime soon.
For now, I guess I will try to shake it off when I can. Force as many snuggles on my son as I can (poor kid) and enjoy that glass of wine with my husband. In the meantime if anyone comes by and wants to check the dryer for the whites and feels the inclination to fold the clothes, please, feel free.
PS: I will let you know if the IKEA table ever gets put together.
The best reason to feel guilt